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Evacuation of foreign tourists from Lombok islands to complete: Indonesian navy

Evacuation of foreign tourists stranded on small islands around the Lombok resort island in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province was expected to conclude on Tuesday evening, an Indonesian navy officer said.

Around 400 remained on those islands at present, a senior military officer supervising the process said on Tuesday.

The tourists were stuck there due to a 7.0-magnitude earthquake which jolted the Lombok island on Sunday.

Commander of provincial navy base Ludi Mihardjo said a coordination operation with vessels picking up the stranded foreign tourists was still underway as part of the tourists demanded to be directly transported to Bali.

They have been stranded in Lombok's popular destination of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno islands since the earthquake struck Lombok on Sunday night.

"Today we dispatched eight vessels to transport them out from those islands. We are still calculating the exact number of those in the island before boarding them into the vessels," Ludi told Xinhua in Lombok's Bangsal port that serves boat transport to the Lombok's popular three islands.

He said more than 3,000 foreign tourists have been evacuated from those islands since Monday morning, of whom 2,500 have arrived in Bali as of Monday night.

Indonesian authorities also provide shuttle buses transporting them from Bangsal port to the province's capital of Mataram.

The evacuation process for foreign tourists was part of the Indonesian president's order to apply best mitigation services related to the devastating earthquake, particularly for foreign tourists wishing to fly out from Lombok swiftly after the earthquake.

To facilitate them, the Indonesian government has extended Lombok airport operation to 24 hours, to provide extra flights for several destinations from the airport and scrapped the fine for foreign tourists whose visas have exceeded the period due to the earthquake.

The Sunday Lombok earthquake has killed 98 people, injured 236 and displaced over 20,000, according to Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

The powerful earthquake centered in Lombok's northeast waters had prompted Indonesian authorities to issue a tsunami warning which was lifted hours later.

Source: Xinhua  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Evacuation of foreign tourists from Lombok islands to complete: Indonesian navy)

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